Thursday, September 17, 2020

November Hill farm journal, 109

 This is the first week it’s started to feel like autumn is here. The temps have been in the 70s each day, lows falling a bit lower each night, and we have color change in the dogwoods and sweet gums, which makes it much more apparent that we’re rolling toward my favorite season.

Today we have rain, thankfully a softly falling rain that the pastures and plant beds need, so I’m happy to have a day or two of this so everything gets a good soaking. I hope all in Sally’s path stay safe, especially those getting the brunt of the storm.

We’re making some progress in the clearing of invasive plants in Poplar Folly. My farm helper has been working on that, and my husband did some weed-eating in Arcadia to clear the grass around the hives. The goldenrod is in full bloom and the bees are extremely busy right now, taking full advantage of the last nectar flow before winter. Two copperheads were spotted down there, so it will be another few months before I’m willing to take the dogs down again. 

The wild muscadines are fully ripe, and plentiful, though many are too high for me to reach. They’re not as sweet this year, and given all that’s going on in the world, that seems fitting. 

In the potager, I thought we were done but for the basil and sweet potatoes, but I found three huge cucumbers all lined up in a very visible row two days ago, and had to wonder if the cucumber vines were proving a point. We had a delicious cucumber salad that night. These three vines have kept us fed most of the summer and now into the beginning of fall. I also had company while checking in that day I found the cucumbers. One of the resident black racers was there, and slid around as I worked, staying inside the fencing but with excellent distancing. 

The fig tree is loaded but as is its usual habit, the fruit set late and is not yet ripe. It’s now a race to see if the fruit can ripen before a first frost hits. I’m rooting for the figs!

I finally got a load of mulch, which seems like forever ago that I was first wanting it, and they ran out, and then I got busy with other things. This load will go to setting up my new pollinator bed, and I’ve already mulched the shade bed across the driveway. I’ve been working on the deep weeding the beds need right now, and as I clear out some weeds, will begin mulching for winter. The pollinator beds are, frankly, a mess, but the bees don’t mind, nor do the butterflies, and we still have several fall-blooming plants to come before the garden goes dormant. 

A few projects on the horizon: liming and overseeding the front pasture, doing a deep clean of the barn once the days are cool enough that they horses move to daytime turn-out, doing a couple of stall door projects + the barn aisle project, and installing new back deck railings and a wider set of steps. 

Inside, I’m still working on my green strip, waiting for the new sliding glass doors to arrive, and also waiting on new garage door panels (one needed repair and in the back and forth with Pella that ensued, they told me the custom panels we’d ordered were not what we got - I had no idea! - and they are replacing them with the right glass windows). 

Next week I’m going to get my old mailbox installed in the potager as a place to store some hand tools and my garden journal, and we’ll set up the compost bay in the corner of the pasture by the potager for easy access. 

The farm follows the seasons, and the rhythm of the seasons intimately affects my writing process. Fall has always been my busiest writing time, and suddenly I’ve been feeling the rumbling that usually precedes a burst of creative work. I’ve started a new novel, am doing edits in another novel, have about 10 essays and short stories out on submission, have one essay forthcoming at Minerva Rising, and am also working on a 6-part creative nonfiction flash series that I’m really excited about. 

There’s nothing I love more than having lots of books to read, projects to work on, and writing in progress as the season begins to turn. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

Well it sounds like you're busy as always and have lots of projects going on. We have autumn starting here too, its my favorite season too. Seems like there is more energy to get things done. This weekend we're starting on painting all our jumps and cavalletti.

As for the garden we still have lots of tomatoes and green beans. I can't believe all the snakes you have there. I'm out on the snakes, they scare the hell out of me. I saw one by the back step last week and am still looking for it every time I go out the door!

billie said...

Oh, I love the thought of you painting jumps and cavalletti. What a great and inspiring fall chore!

I really like the black snakes, as they do good work keeping mice away and also other snakes, like copperheads. The copperheads are a bit scary, and you really don’t want them anywhere near a barn, so I’m glad we have the black snakes there. Like you, though, I tend to keep an eye out if I know there’s a snake around! I am fine as long as they distance though. :)